One of the most urgent issues facing our nation is today is the alarming increase of illegal immigration. America has always been a nation of immigrants, but today we face the challenge of a new influx of individuals from other countries who are coming here illegally. Illegal immigration is creating stress on our economy by overwhelming our education, health care, and social services systems – all at the expense of the American taxpayer. Additionally, our municipal and state governments are being saddled with the soaring costs of prosecuting criminal activity by illegal aliens and for jail and prison costs of illegal aliens convicted of crimes.
As a member of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, I have worked to strengthen our immigration policies and continue to pressure my colleagues in Washington to show resolve by enforcing the laws already on the books.
I support many measures to strengthen enforcement activities such as expanding the federal E-verify program, imposing fines on businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens, eliminating the spending of tax dollars on benefits and services for illegal aliens, and cutting off federal funds to states and cities that declare themselves "sanctuaries" for illegal aliens. Additionally, I support making English the official Language of the United States, reforming Social Security to ensure that benefits are received only by those who pay into the system, , and removing any possibility of amnesty for those that break our laws.
As Congress continues to debate health care reform, I will fight against any legislation that allows illegal immigrants to receive health benefits at taxpayer expense. Anything less is unacceptable, particularly when our country is in the midst of a recession, with a staggering federal deficit and a double-digit unemployment rate.
I’ve also authored and co-sponsored many measures to create a sound, pro-American immigration policy including:
• H.R. 994, the “Loophole Elimination and Verification Enforcement (LEAVE) Act”: This comprehensive bill would strengthen the rules governing acceptable forms of identification, expand the E-Verify Program, end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants, prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving in-state college tuition, complete the border fence, add 8,000 Border Patrol Agents and 3,000 Immigration Customs Enforcement Agents by 2014, empower local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws, increase funding and expand the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, and penalize Sanctuary Cities that knowingly harbor illegal immigrants.
• H.R. 2406, the “Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act”: This bill would affirm the authority of local law enforcement entities to enforce immigration law, list immigration violators in the National Crime Information Center Database (which law enforcement officers can access in their squad cars), demand that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) take custody of detained criminal aliens within 48 hours of arrest, provide DHS immigration enforcement training to local law enforcement entities, and continue expansion of the Institutional Removal Program, which helps identify and remove criminal aliens in the penal system.
• H.R. 2305, the “Security and Fairness Enhancement for America (SAFE) Act”: This legislation would eliminate the arbitrary Visa Lottery Program that is easily susceptible to fraud and could potentially expose our nation to security threats such as espionage, terrorism, and criminal refuge.
The United States will always welcome legal immigrants, and we should welcome their willingness to work and make positive contributions to our society. We will encourage them to purse the American dream, and when they become citizens, we will gladly call them our fellow Americans. However, illegal immigration threatens our national security and creates undue stress on our economy, all at the expense of law-abiding taxpayers. Rest assured that I will continue to support the values of Northwest Louisiana and work diligently with my colleagues to pursue strong, pro-American immigration policies.